Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Hall of Shame: Marvin Miller and Barry Bonds

I just had to get this out there.  As a big cosmic intersecting synchronicity, Marvin Miller, the famed, long-time union leader for the MLBPA passed away, just days away from Hall of Fame announcement of who got in this year, with Barry Bonds being one of the big steroid question marks on the ballot, along with Clemens and Sosa as well.

ogc thoughts

Marvin Miller Should Have Been in the Hall of Fame While Alive

It just makes a big joke of the Baseball Hall of Fame that Marvin Miller is not in there.  Whether you like the results that he brought into the game or not, he was a huge figure in the middle of the breakthrough years for the players association where they broke out from the yoke of slavery to the MLB, then turned it all around with arbitration and free agency.  That is everlasting fame that the Hall of Fame should not and cannot deny.  Shame on the Hall of Fame for not putting him in while he was alive, he lived to 95 for gosh's sake and he battle liver cancer the past few years as well, so it wasn't like people didn't know it wasn't coming, if not just for the age, but the disease.  That he died without getting in - in fact, he was bitter about this and said in recent years that he would turn down the honor if it were to finally be given to him - is a blot on anyone who had a hand in keeping him out.

Barry Bonds Should Be Voted In First Ballot

Bonds could be the next embarrassment for the Hall and the baseball writers.  McGwire has already gone through the gauntlet and survived enough to stay on the ballot.  But he really was more like Dave Kingman than he was an Hall of Famer, in my mind, so he was not a real test of the fervor of the writers about steroids, as even without that stain, given the boost in homers in that era, he should have been borderline anyway.

Two things make Bonds a different case.   First and most of all, he already had a no-doubt Hall of Fame career when he was suspected to start taking steroids.  Whether he willingly took the drug or was tricked into it by his friend/trainer, I don't think we'll ever know the full story, but either way it looks pretty sure that he took the stuff.  However, most agree that he already had Hall of Fame career stats when he reportedly started taking.  So a non-vote for him represents punishment by those writers for him taking the drug, in spite of his achievements prior to using.

Second of all, it is still not all that publicly clear what taking steroids does for a baseball player.  Many claims are being made by writers and fans.  Plus, baseball is a different sport, where finesse and form is more important than physical strength, though strength helps if you already have the skills.

But the evidence, as gathered by famed sabermetrician Eric Walker, of The Sinister Firstbaseman fame and the A's internal Bible fame, suggests that it was a juiced ball, not juiced humans, that powered the Homer era of 1993-2008, and on top of that, his research shows that steroids does not do anything to help improve performance in baseball.  Assuming this is true - I have not had the time to exhaustively read all the citations, but I have read through the website -  I will quote one of his ending statements:
There seems little point in "punishment" for an effect-less "crime".
To me, it seems like the writers want to do this to absolve themselves of the fact that they did NOTHING all those years to investigate when it was so obviously happening.  And I'm throwing into this their shame for letting amphetamines stay in the game for over 50 years when it was happening all over the clubhouse, in fact, Krukow said in his morning KNBR show today that the team's trainer was OPENLY HANDING THEM OUT when he came up to the majors in the mid-70's.  In any case, in my mind, steroids does not help a player hit better, muscle power is not how homers are hit, for if it were, skinny Hank Aaron (when he started) would have never gotten the career record.

The Hall of Shame

The Hall of Fame is not supposed to be used as a form of punishment.  But that is what happened to Marvin Miller, making him bitter about it in his last days.  It could and probably will happen to Barry Bonds, as well as Clemens, who is also clearly a Hall of Famer (Sosa, I can go either way, but he was also caught corking too, I would note, and he was another one-note freak like Dave Kingman;  I would have to look at his career with more detail).

Which is all the shame because the writers do not know beyond a shadow of a doubt that steroids helped players.  If they would just, you know, maybe be a journalist, research the topic, starting with Walker's great website, they might realize that there was a lot of hand waving and sermonizing (and demonizing) happening with regards to steroids.

What if Bonds usage was more akin to placebo using than performance enhancing?  For if they think that they got egg on their face for not facing the steroid era head-on, from the moment that stuff was found in McGwire's locker for all to see (really, not one enterprising reporter thought to follow-up and investigate that one?  Gary Hart would sure would have had a different career in that case), imagine how bad it will look if they held out Bonds on high moral grounds that proved to be quicksand?  If all Walker presents is true, then Bonds is guilty of taking snake oil medicine or leeches, neither of which helps a player avoid a strikeout (which he did to great extremes) or hit a baseball well.

I have placed these Walker links in various places in the cyberspace, particularly websites that is known to draw a lot of readers, like The Hardball Times and Fangraphs.  I would frankly be very surprised if at least one reporter has not see the links before, not that I'm that full of ego, but I cannot imagine that the journalism profession has degenerated down so much that they do not even read baseball websites like these.  And I don't think that it is a coincidence that after years of me putting my performance box on the side, showing the team's record when a certain number of runs are scored or given up, I have started seeing this type of stat noted in the press as well.  Reporters do read websites.

So why isn't the press showing the other side of this issue?  Why not expose the demagoguery around this topic?  Maybe Walker got it wrong, but why not at least tackle the issue since people are making so many decisions and judgments based on possibly false "facts"?  And if he is correct, then it would be a huge scoop on their fellow sports writers, that person would gain a lot of fame for exposing the Emperor's New Clothes regarding steroids and bringing it to the public.  Yet nothing so far.

Amphetamines Was the True Difference Maker

To me, if anything, amphetamines was a bigger blot on baseball records than steroids.  It allowed players to play at their standard level of play, instead of being too tired to perform at that level.  That greatly affected all career records set in the last 60 years or so, since World War II brought that drug into common usage.  It is like caffeine (a legalized form of stimulant, I would add, so nobody is clean in my mind if you drink coffee or any cola drink), only better.  Where is the outrage for that?  Particularly since a number of players were exposed to have used the drug as far back as the 1960's, when Jim Bouton's book, Ball Four, came out and talked about the Yankee's drug use.

And sportswriters must have known about it.  Again, Bouton's book exposed it and yet no enterprising journalist thought to investigate this illegal drug use (perhaps because many of them were using themselves).   And reporters probably took them too when they were in the field reporting on World War II, someone somewhere must have known that usage would have gotten into baseball as well, tie the links.

Pete Rose Should Be In Too

And, in any case, the Hall of Fame does not exist to punish people, it is to honor the accomplishments that a person has made that made baseball what it is today.  That is why I think Shoeless Joe and Pete Rose should belong in the Hall too, especially Mr. Hustle, he may have gambled but the proof is only when he was a manager, and I also can't imagine that he would ever bet against himself or his team if he had done it as a player (and there appears evidence that Shoeless Joe was just a witless participant, particularly given that he hit .375/.394/.563/.956 in that series that he supposedly "threw").

Nobody drives themselves relentlessly, particularly without much pure baseball talent - Rose was a mostly modestly skilled player - and then throw a game.  He didn't achieve greatness throwing games, I think that would be impossible to do, a guy like him don't do that on a part-time basis, either you believe or you don't, and he believed in himself and pushed himself to greatness.  You can't do that part-time.

And even if he could, he's still the LEADER IN HITS ALL-TIME.  How do you keep that out of the Hall, even if he did do the unthinkable and bet against himself like a psycho, he still had more hits than anybody else in baseball history.  It is not a real Hall of Fame if the hit leader is not in there.  Instead, it is a Hall of Shame for all and any participants in the decision to keep Marvin Miller out, Pete Rose out, and, most probably, Barry Bonds out.  If ethics were so important, then they should retroactively throw out all the racists and other person with vices that is not palatable now, that is how the Olympics does it when they re-award competitions.  It would be hypocrisy not to.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Your 2013 Giants: Five Added to 40-Man Roster

Sorry, but things have been busy, here is the latest news on the Giants 40-man roster additions, as reported by sfgiants.com.  Five players have been added to the 40-man roster, after a lot of space was cleared out within a week of the glorious 2012 season that was the San Francisco Giants second World Championship in three years, including the release of RHP reliever Hensley and the sending of Burriss to AAA.  Even with the addition of these five players, there is still five more open spots in the 40-man roster, indicating that the Giants are hoping to add a number of free agents to the roster during the off-season.

  • RHP Jake Dunning:  24 YO Dunning is a reliever, a little old for the EL in 2012 season at 23, but not that old either.  His 4.10 ERA was not that special, but he had a 2.41 K/BB ratio, which is good, and a low 2.9 BB/9, but not really that great for AA if he hopes to make the majors at some point.  He should get promoted to AAA but needs to do more if he wants to make the majors.
  • LHP Edwin Escobar:  20 YO Escobar started 22 games and had a nice 2.96 ERA in the Sally League.  He had a stellar 3.81 K/BB ratio, with a superb 2.2 BB/9, but his 8.4 K/9, while good for the league, is not all that special if he wants to make the majors, though it should be noted that most of the hitters had 2 more years of experience over him and thus as he catches up in age to the competition, he should see improvement.  And at 20, he's got a lot of time to develop as he rises through the minors.
  • RHP Chris Heston:  24 YO Heston is one of those prospects who will need to prove it at every level he rises to.  And he certainly did in AA, 2.24 ERA in 25 starts, 3.38 K/BB ratio, good 2.4 BB/9 and OK 8.2 K/9, and stellar 0.1 HR/9, as his over 50% GB% rate over his career:  60% in Rookie in 2009, 57% in Augusta in 2010, 58% in San Jose in 2011, and 53% in Richmond in 2012.  The large dip in AA in 2012 suggests that he's started to lose his advantage over the hitters already, so 2013 will be a big test for him when he gets to tackle AAA and see if he can adjust to the higher level of competition.
  • MI Nick Noonan:  23 YO Noonan has been my pet favorite for a number of years now.  After his stellar second half in San Jose a few years back, where he showed a lot of batting skills, being able to reduce his strikeout rate a lot while also getting more walks than strikeouts for about half the season, I hew to the Baseball Forecaster truism that once a hitter shows a skill, he owns it, then it becomes a matter of showing that skill again consistently.  He has not done it for a couple of years after that, but he showed marked improvement in 2012, though part of that appears due to a high BABIP that is similar to what he put up when he first turned pro, but not even close compared to his numbers the past three seasons.  
  • OF Juan Perez:  26 YO Perez was too old to be a valid prospect in AA in 2012, but he showed some improvement in his batting discipline, cutting down on his strikeouts in 2012 vs. 2011 and before, and his contact rate, while not quite there yet (that is >= 85%) was very close at 82.4%, and I think that is the main reason he got added.  His batting line was a nice .302/.341/.441/.782, but as you can see, he don't get many walks, so he will need to hit and well if he hopes to stick in the majors.  Improving his contact rate a bit more would help him get there, that plus his power to go with good enough speed that helps him steal bases (but his technique is sadly lacking, as his CS is very high).

These players were added in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft process, which will be conducted on December 6th at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.

ogc thoughts

Obviously, with so many spots still open on the 40 man roster, the Giants appear to be hoping to add Scutaro and Pagan, though the latter appears to be slipping away, both because of years and salary, and because the Giants already have Gregor Blanco as a viable CF candidate.  The Giants are clearly intending for Gary Brown to be their future CF, and a long term contract with Pagan could mean that he could be pushed to LF at some point once Brown is ready.   Brown should start 2013 in AAA and could be ready to come up sometime in the 2013-14 seasons time frame.  And at the money he appears to be rumored to be getting, the only way he can produce such value is if he played CF.

Meanwhile, as DrB elaborated nicely on at his blog and which I've touched on in my comments here and there,  Blanco gives the Giants a lot of flexibility in terms of whatever moves they make regarding the outfield for the 2013 season.  Him plus that both Kieschnick and Peguero appear to be ready to compete for either a starting OF spot, or more likely, a utility OF spot, and perhaps two spots if Blanco is starting CF and the Giants sign a LF who can replace Pagan's hitting.  Thus, Pagan is nice to have but not as much of a necessity as re-signing Scutaro.

Though Scutaro is also not as necessary to get either if the Giants can retain Ryan Theriot.  I assume Theriot is hoping to land a starting spot somewhere but if not, the Giants will welcome him back to the bench as MI utility.  But if nobody was offering last off-season, I don't really see anyone doing that this off-season either.  Though even he is not necessary, as Joaquin Arias looks like he is a good utility MI, and Nick Noonan looks like he has been groomed to take on a utility MI role, like Burriss was, by getting a lot of starts in the minors at 2B and SS.

If the 25 man roster were to be selected today, here is the ones I would think would be chosen:

  • Starters:  Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Zito
  • Relievers:  Romo, Affeldt, Casilla, Lopez, Kontos, Mijares, and Runzler/Otero
  • Starting Position:  Posey, Belt, Arias, Sandoval, Crawford, Kieschnick, Blanco, Pence
  • Bench:  Sanchez, Arias, Gillaspie, Pill, Peguero

I think the relievers are pretty set but that some vets will be invited to compete for the final reliever spot with Runzler and Otero who are most likely to contend from the 40 man.  Machi will be in the mix as well, and I think that this is probably Heath Hembree's to lose, though I would not count out Brett Bochy either, as a dark horse candidate.  I would put Jacob Dunnington in the mix as well.

The Giants clearly need upgrades at 2B and LF/CF (since Blanco could play either) and will likely sign a vet to start at both positions.  The bench also needs upgrades over Gillaspie (as we need another utility MI) and Pill.  Peguero, after his nice showing last September, look ready to take a spot as a 4th OF, though another year of seasoning in AAA would not hurt either, so expect veteran OF's to be invited to camp, probably including a $1-3M veteran free agent at some point.

However, I would note from past observations that the Giants like to keep a spot open for prospects who appear like they might be ready to compete for a starting spot, so I expect LF to be kept open, with Blanco either starting in CF or, if a vet CF is signed, be the lead competitor for the LF starting spot, in competition with Kieschnick, Peguero, and probably at least one vet OF (Nady?).

Overall, the Giants look in pretty good shape for a good run at defending their title in 2013.  I'm very happy with where they are right now, though I would have preferred that Scutaro been signed by now, as every day he is not signed, is a sign that other teams are showing him enough interest to lure him away.   I think Arias is doable starting at 2B for us for the first half, with possible upgrade mid-season from Noonan or another mid-season trade for an MI.  I would love to have Theriot here again as main utility MI and starting 2B placeholder until mid-season if necessary.  I am fine with Blanco in CF and leading off, he's had an above average OBP for much of career and that is the most important thing to look for out of leadoff, plus he has great defensive skills and great speed as well.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Your 2013 Giants: Affeldt Signs 3 Years, $18M

As reported by the media for a while now, Jeremy Affeldt has re-signed with the Giants.  As reported  by Chris Haft (and in other sources as well), it was for 3 years, $18M.  Presumably, it is for $6M per year, but given that last year he got $5M and the Giants budget is already being stretched for 2013, it could be for $5M, $6M, $7M, which Sabean has done before for some contracts.  There was no mention of a signing bonus, nor boosts in contract value for awards that might be won, the details on this contract has been particularly sparse relative to before.

He said he did it for his family, to get financial security.  That refers more to the length of the contract, than the size, as he's already pulled in a lot of money in prior contracts.  He is a West Coast guy, having grown in the Northwest region (Washington), citing that as one of his factors as well.  He also is happy to be returning to his "Giants Family," which is what Pence was talking about in all his sermonizing.  And his actual family gets to continue to live and grow up in the San Francisco Bay Area, it sounds like, which I think is up there in his thinking as well.

ogc thoughts

I think this move had to be done and done first among the Giants free agents.  The Giants bullpen was a great asset last year, but that was in spite of the fact that we lost Brian Wilson for the season and potentially (probably, if we are being realistic, the Beard has been saying you can bet on it that he'll be there opening day) early 2013 too.  Casilla's issues also put a damper on things too, he looked like he would be the new closer after his 2011 season, but his blister (and probable mental issues) took him out of the job and pushed Bochy to go with the committee method until Romo took control by late season.

In addition, as we all know, pitchers are just more fragile in general.  And Romo, as we also all know, has not been a horse before, he has had elbow issues before.  And I was getting worried about him near the end of the season because his quotes were laced with comments about pitching until his arm falls off and how he'll answer the call no matter what.  That was similar to what Wilson was saying in 2010 and 2011, and we subsequently learned that his body was already starting to give out in 2010.

Given any team's need for a shutdown bullpen and Romo's history of questionable health, plus if Affeldt and Romo were gone, that means that we need to rely on Casilla solely as our closer, with only Lopez, Kontos, and Mijares as our set-up men in that case, the Giants had no real choice but to sign Affeldt to the contract terms that Affeldt wanted, which was 3 years (which, to be fair, is what relievers of his ilk has been getting, like League).  We need the redundancy as well as just for the overall quality of the bullpen.  He's a proven reliever, to get someone similar - and I mean similarly accomplished, not a reliever who did well in 2012 - would have cost us the same money.

I don't understand why Giants fans didn't get that last year or this year.  Especially after how 2012 unfolded, I could at least see their argument from last off-season (though I would still pick up his option), but after Wilson went down and Casilla proved not to be the long-term answer, and particularly after how well Affeldt did in the playoffs, I just don't see how anyone cannot see why we had to sign Affeldt.

I think the question boils down to this:  do you want to win another championship or do you want to save money?  I want another championship.

And it is not like the Giants don't have money to spend on him.  A lot of contracts are going off the books.  And while raises take up a lot of that, there is still money to get everything done, that is why Sabean was able to say at the time of Pence's trade that they were planning on signing both he and Melky to long-term deals.  Given the baseball rationale for needing Affeldt, I don't see why the budget could not also handle Affeldt.

Next up is Scutaro, according to media reports.  They are reporting that the Giants are optimistic (Chron), but if Scutaro were close, I would think the Giants would have waited to get him done before announcing Affeldt's deal.  According to the Haft account, Sabean characterized negotiations as "ongoing and upbeat" regarding Scutaro and Pagan.

Unfortunately, I think that this means that Scutaro is listening hard to other offers for the best offer, whereas Affeldt had an idea of what he wanted, and Sabean was willing to meet it.  Jeremy noted (good comment on Sabean's methodology, which I had guessed at before, good to see pointed out here by player):
Once the Giants proved willing to give Affeldt a three-year package, as they demonstrated shortly after the World Series ended, the bargaining essentially ended. 
"The Giants are aggressive," Affeldt said. "They don't sit there and try to lowball and figure out where to get to, if they have an idea of where [your salary] should be. I don't think Sabean messes around a whole lot." 
Affeldt indicated that he could have listened seriously to proposals from other teams. But, as he stated, he didn't have a reason to leave, especially since he and his family like the city, the Bay Area and the ballclub.
Nothing wrong with Scutaro kicking the tires with other teams - it is his right - but it just dampens my hopes of getting him re-signed.

Alternatives to Scutaro

Not that I think that he is totally critical to the Giants success in 2013.  He was certainly the catalyst for our offense in the second half after he joined the team, but expecting him to hit .362/.385/.473/.859 again is not a reasonable expectation.   Much more reasonable was his batting line from the past four seasons playing mostly full-time:  .290/.354/.404/.758.  Theriot hit this after he returned to action after his DL got him healthy and when he got replaced: .287/.345/.345/.679.  Which is basically his career line:  .281/.341/.350/..691.  And both are roughly equal in defensive ability at 2B and SS.  While he is not as good a hitter as Scutaro, is Scutaro worth $5, 6, or 7M more than Theriot?

On top of that, the Giants have two MI who could be pushing for the starting spot starting in spring training 2013.  Nick Noonan had a nice but not breakout season in AAA, but a vast improvement on his 2011 season in AA Richmond.  His batting line was not impressive - .296/.347/.416/.763 - but it is that bad either considering he was only 23 YO for the season and the average age there was 26.7 years for pitchers, meaning they had roughly 3-4 more years of experience over him.  The good news for him is that his contract rate was a nice 83% (85% is what good hitters do, but again, note the age disadvantage for him) and his BB/K ratio was an OK 0.48 (usually want at least 0.50).  If he can further develop in 2013, he could be ready for the majors by mid-season.

Of course, the main person on the radar for 2B is Joe Panik.  He has had a down year both in the Cal League, a hitter's league, as well as the AFL, so far.  Still, he hit a nice .297/.368/.402/.770 for San Jose, and more importantly only had 54 K's in 535 AB (roughly 90% contact rate, great) and had the excellent ratio of 58 BB/54 K, 1.07 BB/K ratio, as only the best hitters can get their BB/K ratio above 1.00, and he has done it two seasons in a row.

If he can maintain that in the majors, he'll be an elite hitter.  In the majors, hitters who can maintain a BB/K ratio of over 1.00 are more likely to hit .300 than not (51% of hitters with BB/K from 1.00 to 1.50 had over .300 BA, only 9% of them had less than .250).  Guys with contact rates of 90%+ averaged .290 in 2011 season.  So far, so good.

He should be in AA for the 2013 season, maybe AAA for 2014, assuming he continues to climb.  With some good hitting, he could be in the majors by mid-season 2014, age 23, or by 2015 season at age 24.  That's still pretty young age to be making the majors.

Between Theriot and the young prospects, the Giants should be covered adequately at 2B for the next couple of years (assuming the Giants are able to re-sign Theriot.

Alternatives to Pagan

Pagan is even easier to replace.  Blanco, while not as good offensively, should be as good or better defensively in CF.  Meanwhile, Pagan had a very nice 2012, but his three year record as a starting OF is .281/.334/.415/.749, which is nice but not $13.8M nice.  Blanco's stats, again like above with Theriot, might not be as good, but is Pagan worth $10M+ more than Blanco?  Blanco's stats in 2012 was very close to his MLB stats:  .244/.333/.344/.676 vs. .253/.349/.331/.680.  At leadoff, the most important factor there is the hitter's OBP, and both of their OBP are virtually the same.

Meanwhile, we can go in a number of different directions for LF.  First off is internally from our own roster.  As much as I like Brandon Belt at 1B, I assume that Posey and Sanchez will be sharing the catcher's duties again and likely push Belt off 1B starts anywhere from 30 to 50 games.  If he is hitting as well as he did last season, the Giants would play him in LF for that many games.  If he's playing in LF that much, maybe it would be better for him to start in LF instead.  In which case, the Giants could look for a free agent 1B, perhaps just a platoon hitting 1B, instead of a LF or CF.

There are other options in the Giants farm system as well.  Had he not gotten injured last season, Roger Kieschnick probably would have gotten a chance to play in the Giants OF last season, after hitting .295/.361/.581/.942 up to his season-ending injury.   Particularly with Schierholtz not doing that well before the Pence trade, and after Melky got suspended.  And he started most of the 2012 season in LF.  He strikes out way, way too much and likely would be even harder to get going in the majors than Belt, but he brings a lot of HR power, plus walks a lot as well.

Another potential option is Francisco Peguero.  While he only hit .272/.297/.394/.691 in AAA, he started the season injured and took a while to get into baseball shape, it appears.  From June on, he hit .308/.327/.411/.738, which better shows his hit tool, and he was only 24 YO in AAA.  Also showing that he might have been struggling all season with leg problems, he only had 1 SB attempt all season in AAA, but in the majors, in his September call-up, where he basically was Huff's pinch-runner, he stole 3 bases with no CS.

None of these options are necessarily better than Pagan, but at $10M or more in extra cost, is he going to produce that much more value?  That is at least debatable.  In addition, there is a multitude of players the Giants can sign to play LF (if Blanco plays CF), starting with their former LF, Melky Cabrera, who should be cheap and the Giants, according to rumors, are open to him returning (I'm OK either way, it is what it is, though I would prefer to move on).  Other names include Scott Hairston (Giants killer previously), Jonny Gomes (grew up in Bay Area, I believe he's a Giants fan), Reed Johnson (Sabean loves flexibility and he plays all three OF positions).  Also, MLBTR has mentioned that the Giants kicked the tires on Torii Hunter (who just signed for 2 years, $26M with Tigers) and Shane Victorino (Flying Hawaiian; love that nickname).

Victorino might be a nice addition at a lower price point given his poor 2012 season, but still strong SB skill. He did not strike out that much, it was in line with prior seasons, plus his walk rate was still within his career range, he might have just had a bad season at age 31.  Previously, as a full-time starter for 6 seasons, he hit .282/.348/.443/.791, and averaged around 32 SB in the past 6 seasons.  And he has been the equal of Pagan and Blanco in defense in CF, and great on the corners.  I think if we can get him for one season at half the money that Pagan is asking for, I would rather have Victorino for a season than Pagan for 2-3 seasons.  He would be a nice bridge to get us to Brown starting in 2014, assuming he does well in Fresno in 2013.

Then, there is 1B (if Belt plays LF) free agents.  I've always like Kila Ka'aihue bat, maybe we can give him a chance to figure it out in the majors.  Carlos Pena has been an OK defensive 1B himself, and provides a lot of HR power and walks.  He probably don't want to split time at 1B though.  Kevin Youkilis would be an intriguing choice, he provides HR power and walks as well, and has never really played a full season and been very part time in recent years, and plays great defense there, plus can play 3B occasionally too.

There are a lot of options other than Pagan.

Your 2012 Giants: Posey Wins MVP, EPIC!

Buster Posey wins the NL MVP award in a landslide (Chron, Merc, CSN).  He had already won the Comeback Player of the Year award, as well as the Silver Slugger award, the prestigious Hank Aaron Award (for offensive excellence), and the Willie Mac Award.  And he won the 2010 Rookie of the Year award already, plus has two World Series rings.  His mantle is getting full.  Pretty good for a player with only one full season under his belt.

He received 27 of the 32 first place votes for a total of 422 points.  Braun was second with 285 points and 3 first place votes.  McCuthchen, who was the favorite at the All-Star break, had 245 points but no first place votes.  And Yadier Molina, who was considered a serious contender to Posey for this award, had 241 points and 2 first place votes (remaining two votes).

CSN has a nice listing of stats on this.  Posey is the 14th time a Giants player won the award (first awarded in 1931, so if one per year - not sure if there were skips - that 72 total awards, Giants won almost 20% of them) and 10th SF Giants MVP. He is one of eight Giants players to win it, joining Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, Kevin Mitchel, Willie McCovey, Willie Mays, Carl Hubbell, and Larry Doyle.  He is the first catcher to win it since Johnny Bench in 1972 and no Giants catcher has ever won it.  He is the first Giants prospect to win the MVP award for the Giants since Willie Mac joined the team in 1959.

The Giants also won the trifecta, with a Giant winning the All-Star, World Series, and seasonal MVPs (Melky, Pablo, and Buster).  As noted previously, he won the batting title becoming the first NL catcher to win a batting crown since Ernie Lombardi in 1942.

Good quote by Pavlovic, capturing Posey and why he won the MVP:
“Ultimately it’s just a bad decision, and that’s all I’m really going to say about that,” a defiant Buster Posey said hours after Melky Cabrera’s suspension. “We have to approach the rest of the year with a chip on our shoulders.”
Remember, when Melky was suspended, we were tied with the Dodgers for the NL West lead, and was behind by one game at the end of that day.  The Giants ended up winning by eight full games over the D-gers, who added A-Gon and Beckett in a huge trade soon afterward, a move that most thought would turbo boost them to the title, but instead, it was the Giants turbo boosting to their second NL West title in three seasons and second World Championship.

Alex also added that Posey joined Bench and Munson as the only catchers in MLB history to win the Rookie of the Year Award and World Series title, along with the MVP Award.  Another Epic moment to this most Epic of seasons.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

2012 Giants: September/October PQS and Final PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of September 2012, PQS as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here (unfortunately, they removed the article; this link gets you at least to the PQS definition, read down to middle for details; I recommend buying their older books via their website to read up on this methodology and concept). I wrote on this first in 2006 and have compiled their stats on a regular basis, so I'm continuing it this season for continuity and historical comparison (there is the "PQS" label that you can click to see the old posts on this). Regular readers can skip to the next section.

This is the Quality Start with a sabermetric DIPS twist, and it gets really easy to calculate once you get used to it. I don't think it's the end all or be all, but then nothing really is that. It is, as I like to say, another piece of the puzzle. A dominating start is scored a 4 or 5 and a disaster start is scored a 0 or 1. DOM% is the percentage of starts that are dominating, DIS% is the percentage of starts that are disasters (any start under 5.0 IP is automatically a 0, or disaster).

Friday, November 02, 2012

My Latest Comment on Success in the Playoffs

I commented on in a comment at another site, and I thought I would share it here, as it encapsulates a lot of thoughts and ideas that I've been squirreling away and represents my latest thoughts about winning championships.

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